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Eight simple habits could add decades to your life

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
21 July 2023 | 20:12 CAT

Image: Google

New research suggests you can add years or even decades onto your lifespan by following some basic healthy habits by middle age.

Lifestyle factors like getting enough exercise while avoiding risky behaviours like binge drinking and smoking have been linked to living up to 24 years longer, according to an observational study presented at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, which was held on July 22 to July 25 in Boston.

Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from more than 700,000 US veterans ages 49 to 90 to compare their habits with health outcomes over time.

Lack of physical activity, opioid use and smoking had the biggest impacts on lifespan, with a 30% to 45% increased risk of death, the study found.

“Stress, binge drinking, poor diet, and poor sleep hygiene were each associated with around a 20% increase in the risk of death, and a lack of positive social relationships was associated with a 5% increased risk of death,” the release states.

CEO of the Year and Winner of the Wellness Strategy, Ronald Avejee, highlighted the eight major factors linked to longer and healthier lives.

Avejee said the number one factor that has come to the surface, especially after the Covid-19 period, is to look at the principal of self-care.

“Self-care is a lens where you begin to invest in yourself and identify things like mental wellness, which is the number one priority. You cannot change your health or invest in your wellness without having the right mindset,” adds Avejee.

The eight habits, listed in order, starting with the highest impact on lifespan, include:

1. Exercising
2. Not having an addiction to opioids
3. Avoiding smoking
4. Managing your stress levels
5. Adhering to a healthy diet
6. Not binge drinking
7. Prioritizing good sleep
8. Maintaining positive social relationships

“Nutrition plays a critical role in overall well-being and health. When you fuel your body correctly, and maximize the opportunity, you will achieve high performance for your health,” says Avejee.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie.


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